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Business Owner Time Off

Business Owners, Please Take Time for Yourself!

Business owners are a very special breed of people who are often tasked with wearing numerous hats throughout the day.  One minute, you’re the Creative Director.  The next minute, you’re the Chief Financial Officer.  And then a team member freaks out and you become the Counselor.  It’s part of the gig and if you’ve been a business owner for many years, the constant juggling of roles and switching of gears is probably fairly normal to you.  In fact, it may become so normal to you that it’s your default. 

How can you tell if it’s become your standard mode of operation?  Well, do you find it hard to take time off from work?  Do you believe that it’s your job to fix everything?  Do you think if you’re not in the office, on your phone, or plugging away at your laptop that things will fall apart?  Better yet, do you have a hard time being still and feel anxious if you’re not doing something?

If the answer is “yes”, then your autopilot is go-go-go and you’re a human doing, not a human being.  While this method of operation can be incredibly useful and serve you as a business owner, it can also lead to your demise.  You see, we all need breaks.  In fact, we all deserve them.  If you’re reading this, you need to hear this… you are deserving and worthy of a break.  You deserve time to yourself.  The best version of you is just a book, nap, and cup of coffee away. 

For some people, time for yourself may be working out each day.  For others, it’s simply taking 30 minutes to read (or to breathe).  And now I’m going to push you here and say that time for yourself may just be a vacation, a trip where you leave the laptop behind.

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When I take a little time for myself and approach my needs with gentleness, I naturally become a better leader, creator, collaborator, and even a better wife and mother.

Amber Khan

When We Don’t Accept Time Away as Normal, Guilt is Inevitable

I just got back from a family vacation in which I did, in fact, leave my laptop at home.  After we returned, I had a little time to settle in, but I could feel my anxiety rising.  I kept seeing the emails piling up in my inbox, my mind starting checking through to-dos, and before I knew it, I was in full blown post vacation anxiety mode.  Instead of looking forward to coming back to the office, I had this nagging sense of dread.  Some of it was this feeling of “how do I catch up?”  Some of it was this feeling of “where do I start?” Yet, a larger piece of it was this feeling of guilt for taking time off. 

The latter feeling is one that many business owners suffer from.  Upon my return, I created an Instagram poll to see how many others experienced “post vacation anxiety”.  Not surprisingly, everyone that filled out the poll said they experienced it except for ONE person.  That person is actually on my team!

I Need the Reminder, and So Do You

So, why am I hammering on and on?  Part of it is that I need a reminder for myself.  I need to be reminded that when I take time for myself and fill my own cup with the things I enjoy (family time, reading, working out, being in nature… not being glued to my laptop 24/7), I naturally have a better outlook and attitude.  That positive energy carries over into every creative project, every client interaction, and every place business me has to show up in the world.  It’s a reminder that when you nurture yourself, you nurture everyone else, and so it is OK to claim the space you need.

If you’re like me, and you struggle with making time for yourself, remember that the e-go says “go” even when the mind, body, and soul need restoration.  Combine the ego with the need to control and you’ll have the perfect recipe for overworking, anxiety, chronic fatigue, and even loss of passion.

Now, I don’t know about you, but my passion fuels my business.  My passion to serve and help others is what inspires the most creative part of me.  So, I am learning to honor the fact that when I take time for myself, life supports me, and everything falls into place in a better way than I could ever imagine. 

When I take a little time for myself and approach my needs with gentleness, I naturally become a better leader, creator, collaborator, and even a better wife and mother.

How do you feel about taking breaks?  Taking time off?  What fills your cup on a day-to-day basis so you can be the best version of you?

3 of My Favorite Hacks for More You Time

I hope you find this little reminder useful.  I’d also like to share 3 hacks I use to give myself time:

  1. After a vacation, I won’t return to the office right away.  I’ve learned how important it is to give myself one or two more days to get settled before I jump back into work.  For example, after our recent vacation, we came home on a Friday.  We had the weekend to get our kids back into a routine and then I purposefully took Monday off.  I needed that day to get myself back into a routine.  Giving yourself a bit of wiggle room can do wonders.
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2. I remember when I first started meditating in the mornings, I would do it for a hour. I literally thought it had to be a hour long session or else it wouldn’t be effective.  Funny how human nature pushes us to extremes.  We’re either all in, or not in at all.  Over time, I struggled to set aside that hour of time each day and so I started to skip my mediations.  Then a wiser mentor of mine told me, “why does it need to be a hour?  You can accomplish just as much in 20 minutes.  Just be consistent.”  That is the truth, isn’t it.  Above all else, be consistent and accept that while it may not be a hour, 20 minutes of space for yourself is better than no space at all.

3. Ask yourself what you need. In any given moment, your needs may change.  So, make it a habit of asking your mind, body, and soul what it needs right now.  You may tune into your body and intuitively feel it just needs more water, or you may tune into your mind and sense it needs more laughter.  Often times, we think time for ourselves has to a big ordeal.  Little moments can make a big difference; don’t over complicate it.

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